Are Christians Satisfied?
The reason I ask the question is that false expectations can turn a good relationship into a bad one. Jesus did say, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). One might then enthusiastically jump to the conclusion that once you come to Jesus all your longings are satisfied then and there. No more dissatisfaction.
But consider the following biblical indications that some dissatisfaction ought to still be part of our Christian experience.
Not that I have already obtained this [the resurrection] or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12)
Weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)
Will not God vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night? (Luke 18:7)
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 12:24)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us ... if we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8,10)
We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)
When we invite a person to Christ—to come to the fountain of living water—we do offer satisfaction. Christ is the source of all satisfaction and total satisfaction. But the depth of this satisfaction is not drunk all at once.
For example, in this life our bodies will decay and give us pain and eventually die. This experience is changed by hope and by God’s use of it for our good. But we are not satisfied in this painful condition.
Another example is the remaining corruption in our hearts. We still sin and need forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Yes, this too is changed by hope and by the daily cleansing we can have from Jesus! But still we are not satisfied with this sinfulness.
Another example is the sheer weakness of the flesh (“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41). We want to worship or pray or serve, but find that weakness makes us so sluggish in what we wish was white-hot zeal. So we are dissatisfied even with our best efforts at worship and obedience. This, too, is changed by Christ, because he is willing to accept less than perfect sacrifices of praise and obedience that come from hearts of faith.
So Christ does offer total satisfaction, much of it right now in hope and forgiveness and growing power to love. But all of it in the age to come when we will be made perfect in a perfect world. Then there will be no sense in which we will be disappointed in ourselves or in our circumstances at all.
With dissatisfied contentment,
© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org